Bamboo’s Anti-Oxidants – Herbal Medicine in Asia

I just finished reading the most interesting article called “Bamboo as Medicine” By Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon.  Asia has over 300 species of bamboo (Also known as Zhu Ru) and many different parts of the plants are used in Chinese Medicine.

The leaves are used for fevers, the inside whitish-greenish middle is used for convulsions and vomiting.  Dried sap from the joints of bamboo are used for fevers and  coughs with phlegm and even epilepsy. The stem of small bamboo are used in Japan for  urinary retention and blood in the urine.  Bamboo leaves can also be made into a beer. (I’m not sure that’s medicinal or not.) Most importantly bamboo contains known antioxidants.

This article has excellent comparisons and characteristics on functions of  different bamboo species, something I never learned in school.

There are several species which are specifically for phlegm misting the brain, a term we generally use when referring to someone who would be diagnosed in Allopathic terms as delusional or schizophrenic.    In Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine bamboo has many uses including as an aphrodisiac.  Since there’s no shortage of bamboo in the world and chemical constituents in bamboo are known antioxidants, seems like a win-win situation to use bamboo as medicine. One more bamboo fun fact.  In ancient China, bamboo was used for writing tablets.  A wonderful Chinese teacher I had in my Masters program for Oriental Medicine, when faced with a difficult student question on conflicting material, he would always answer with “Bamboo Problem” which always got a laugh. The meaning was, some very old bamboo reeds survived with ancient text about Chinese Medicine but some disintegrated and written words were lost forever. So bamboo as medicine is great but there’s a reason we don’t still use bamboo for writing tablets.

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